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Dec. 3, 2021
By Rebekah HallU of A System Division of Agriculture
LITTLE ROCK — Strawberry growers across the country will have two opportunities to
learn more about keeping their farms safe and free of microbial contamination through
free online training hosted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
and Clemson University. The training dates are Dec. 14, 2021 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and
Jan. 11, 2022 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Registrants can choose either option and do not need
to attend both.
“The Division of Agriculture and Clemson University have partnered on this alternative
curriculum beyond the standard Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety
Alliance Grower Trainings to support the strawberry specialty crop industry,” said
Amanda Philyaw Perez, extension food safety specialist and Assistant Professor for
the Division of Agriculture.
“Participants in these trainings will learn the importance of food safety, various
cleaning and sanitizing terms, standard operating procedures for cleaning and sanitizing
surfaces, and documentation and recordkeeping,” said Rip Weaver, extension program
technician for the Division of Agriculture. “While these trainings are tailored for
strawberry growers, these food safety principles may be applied to all aspects of
farming operations. The idea is to create a culture of farm and food safety with a
focus on strawberry production.”
Division of Agriculture faculty Philyaw Perez and Kristen Gibson, associate professor
of food safety and microbiology for the Division of Agriculture, in collaboration
with Angela Fraser, professor of food science at Clemson University, designed the
training program. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
National Institute of Food and Agriculture Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant
Program (FSOP). It is the first time this training is being offered
Julia Fryer, a program associate for the Division of Agriculture, and Natacha Cureau,
former extension postdoctoral fellow, assisted in the research upon which the training
is based in 2020.
“Strawberry growers from around the country were surveyed about what information and
training they desired, and results found that growers wanted more information on sanitizing,
cleaning, recordkeeping and documentation,” Philyaw Perez said. “They recognize their
gaps in knowledge, and we aim to support them in bridging this gap through these trainings.
This workshop is designed to build on food safety knowledge, specifically for the
The training is intended to supplement, not replace, general Produce Safety Grower
training required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Philyaw Perez and the Produce Safety
team have led produce safety education for Arkansas Division of Agriculture growers
for the past four years. There is no cost to participate in the training, but registration
is required. Participation is limited to 20 per session. Registration closes two days
before each training. Participants will need Zoom video conferencing software, a web
camera and microphone, and internet access to attend. For more information, contact
Rip Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Rebekah HallCooperative Extension ServiceDepartment of Communicationsrkhall@uada.edu